South Korea-based pH Pharma, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company and U.S.-based Immunome, a biotechnology company developing first-in-class antibodies as cancer therapeutics, have signed an agreement to collaboration in developing, commercializing and licensing multiple novel antibody-drug conjugates (ADC) against multiple oncology targets, for the treatment of cancers with a high and currently unmet, medical need.
Immunome is developing first-in-class cancer therapies by unlocking the tumor-educated B cell response from patients.
Its proprietary discovery engine identifies antibody-target pairs by interrogating the patient response with unparalleled depth, breadth, and speed. Using this rich source of antibody-target pairs, the company is developing new cancer therapies and exploring vast, untapped areas of cancer biology.
pH Pharma most advanced product candidate, PHP-201 is a Rho kinase inhibitor for the treatment of normal tension glaucoma (NTG), while a second, Phase II-ready product candidate is a novel neutrophil elastase inhibitor being evaluated for the potential treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) plus rare genetic diseases. The company’s oncology development efforts focus on its Torpedo portfolio of novel toxin payloads for antibody-drug conjugates for the treatment of multiple tumor types.
Owing to their novel mechanism of action – modulation of the mammalian spliceosome – the most advanced candidates from the payload program have the potential to be first- and best-in-class ADC payloads, with the potential for synergy in combination with checkpoint inhibitors due to the formation of neoepitopes.
Under the terms of the agreement, Immunome will conduct the initial antibody discovery and prioritization work with its proprietary platform. pH Pharma will conjugate the antibody candidates to its proprietary ADC payloads and evaluate the ADC candidates for efficacy and safety.
“By combining Immunome’s ability to simultaneously identify novel targets and first-in-class human antibodies that work against them, and with pH Pharma’s capabilities in toxin payloads, there is tremendous potential to yield truly new and highly differentiated ADCs,” said Purnanand Sarma, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Immunome.
“pH Pharma’s innovative payloads act via a novel mechanism, and the resulting ADCs are expected to improve the potency of a subset of Immunome antibodies against a wide variety of cancer types,” Sarma added.
“This partnership offers a truly unique opportunity to bring together two proprietary platform technologies in order to create beneficial medicines for cancer patients,” noted Hoyoung Huh, MD, Ph.D., chief executive officer of pH Pharma.
“The Immunome platform represents an innovative approach to identify targets and antibodies in the immune repertoire of cancer patients that specifically contribute to positive health outcomes. Research collaborations such as this provide important validation of pH Pharma’s payload and ADC capabilities and are an important part of our strategy for building a leading global healthcare company,” Huh further commented.
The agreement terms state that pH Pharma will have the right to develop and commercialize the first development candidate generated in the collaboration with a selection process to determine rights to subsequent candidates. The company that develops and commercializes the candidate(s) will pay certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones to the other company worth up to U.S. $ 100 million for each product, with the potential for multiple candidates to be developed and commercialized.
Royalties on net sales will be paid to the party that does not have commercial rights. Both parties will share in any revenue realized through sublicensing to third parties.